The Best Mac And Cheese Recipes You Need To Know About

If you're looking for the best mac and cheese recipes to scratch your persistent itch for satisfying, cheesy goodness, then you've come to the right place. There are a lot of reasons to love the dish, and not just because (surprise!) cheese is one the most addictive foods out there, according to science. If you ask us why so many people love mac and cheese, however, one of the reasons that stands out the most is that there are so many different ways to make it. While mac and cheese lovers may be united in their love of, well, mac and cheese, if you ask them how they like it? The chances of them disagreeing may go up a bit.

No matter how you like it, forget about those instant versions you make from packs of powder and/or sauce; it's time to eat the real thing. Whether you want this classic comfort food baked, made easy with a one-pot method, or as a casserole you need to cut with a knife, no problem — we've got you covered. If you want it to mimic fast food favorites? Sure thing, did you want a Chick-Fil-A or Panera copycat version? Heck, we've even got recipes for mac and cheese sandwiches and tacos. On top of all that, if you think of all the different cheeses that are best-suited for making mac and cheese, the possibilities of flavor combinations with the following recipes start looking endless.

Choose your own cheesy adventure below.

Slow cooker mac and cheese

There's no better way to make something homemade than if it takes the same effort to open a box, boil and strain pasta, and add a packet of weird science to it. The only difference is that you'll have made this from scratch. 

This slow cooker mac and cheese recipe doesn't need require more than adding ingredients to your slow cooker, having some patience, and the strength to stir it. The result is a bowl of mac and cheese that's cheesier and creamier than any instant variety on the market.

One-pot mac and cheese

Want a more involved approach to your homemade mac and cheese, but still need it to be as simple and straightforward as the instant stuff? You'll love this one-pot mac and cheese recipe that promises to make this winning dinner easier. It'll be fast too, as it only takes 20 minutes.

This is where you can start to learn some one-pot mac and cheese basics, too; by cooking your pasta in the same liquid you'll be adding cheese and seasoning to, you'll find that it will get infused with whatever you choose to put into it.

One-pot spinach and feta mac and cheese

You'll need to tack on an extra five minutes to make this one-pot mac and cheese recipe compared to the one above, but that's just because you're making a slightly healthier version by mixing in some spinach that will give your pasta a slightly robust mineral taste and flavor. There's still a hefty amount of cheese being thrown in, but this is one of those times when it's easy to sneak some extra greens into a meal. 

Baked mac and cheese

Your mind may jump to the instant stuff when thinking of mac and cheese, but when you take a moment to ponder it, that version of the dish is far removed from the original mac and cheese. 

The OG version is baked, and recipes like this satisfying baked mac and cheese are following in the footsteps of early recipes like this 18th century version, just with a couple tweaks that help it evolve into an even more delicious dish. With spices, a cheese blend, and panko breadcrumbs, this is one casserole you won't soon forget.

Creamy macaroni and cheese

If you're a fan of casserole-style mac and cheese, then this mix of al dente noodles with a rich, cheesy sauce on the bottom and a crispy baked top ought to satisfy your next craving. Considering the relatively small amount of prep and baking time, it's a recipe that can be easily prepared, as well as feed a family in one fell swoop. It's also a basic set of instructions that can be tweaked and changed according to your own tastes, so feel free to get creative with elements like the cheese and seasoning.

Copycat Chick-fil-A mac and cheese

We've been all about Chick-fil-A's mac and cheese ever since it showed up on its menu in 2019, but we're also all about our recipe for copycat Chick-fil-A mac and cheese. Because the restaurant chain's website lists the ingredients, that helped make our mac and cheese mimicry that much closer to the real deal, right down to ingredients you may not normally have on hand. This version also skips out on preservatives like xanthan gum, emulsifying salt, and modified food starch; good thing too, as you won't be leaving leftovers behind once you taste it.

Copycat Panera mac and cheese

Look, if you're one of those people who isn't afraid to admit that you still like Panera's mac and cheese even after that video broke Tiktok for a hot minute, we're not judging. Panera has said that they sell three million servings of mac and cheese every month, and the reason for that is pretty simple: some people like it.

That said, if you're a fan but still squeamish about eating something that was cooked in a plastic bag, then try this copycat Panera mac and cheese recipe on for size.

Grilled Buffalo chicken mac and cheese sandwich

If you want to load up on carbs in one of the most comforting and indulgent ways possible, look no further than this sandwich filled with mac and cheese. And if after one look at the recipe you're starting to think you'll be overwhelmed by the bread and spicy chicken? No problem, stick to only making the mac! Or maybe make a grilled cheese sandwich filled with buffalo chicken to go with your bowl of saucy noodles. Whatever route you take, the results are indisputably worth the mix of textures and flavors.

Bacon weave taco with mac and cheese filling

Get this: a mac and cheese taco made with a weaved bacon shell. Bacon bits make for a great garnish, but this method ensures you'll get a taste of salty, crispy meat with every bite. If it's your first time weaving bacon, it will be tough at the start, but it's rewarding once you get the hang of it. The beauty of this recipe is that the beer mac and cheese — you read that right — is made in a slow cooker, leaving you more time to perfect your bacon weaving abilities.